DLC and Microtransactions: New Study Shows How Gamers Feel About Them

How do you feel about microtransactions and DLC?


[UPDATE] A spokespeson for the NPD Group told GameSpot that questions on the survey asked about portable, PC, and console games, as well as smartphone titles, "but only within the context of those who purchase additional content for the core systems."

As for specific games featured in the survey, NPD Group asked microtransaction-themed questions about Battleborn, Destiny, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Grand Theft Auto V, and Halo 5: Guardians. Questions pertaining to DLC were asked about titles like Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4, Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens, and Super Smash Bros. Wii U. Mobile games featured in the study included Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, Clans of Clans, Game of War: Fire Age, and Pokemon Go.

This is not a comprehensive list of games asked in the study, but only an example of some of them.

The original story is below.

Microtransactions continue to be one of the most talked-about elements of games today. Today, the NPD Group has released the results of a study that shines a light on how people feel about them.

The study, "DLC and Microtransaction Purchasing," found that among the entire US population of men and women aged 13-54, 28 percent have purchased extra content in the past three months. Males and teens were the primary drivers of purchases, according to the report. Additionally, the study found that people are more likely to spend money on microtransactions (23 percent) than downloadable content (16 percent).

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As you might imagine, price is the leading factor when people are thinking about spending money on microtransactions and DLC. Here are some related takeaways from the survey, as written by NPD:

  • Close to half of non-purchasers of microtransactions are not willing to spend any money on them
  • 48 percent felt the content was not worth the extra expense
  • Half of non-DLC purchasers stated the DLC was not worth the money
  • 16 percent believe the extra content should have been included in the full game price

The study went on to say that the preferred method of unlocking extra content in a game is to spend virtual currency on it. However, 78 percent of respondents said they would consider spending money to buy microtransactions to get things like weapons and power-ups, among other things. A key consideration here is that the likelihood of a person spending money on extra content is also tied into how much that person enjoys a particular game and the cost of the add-on content.

Here are some other findings:

  • Attitudes towards mictrotransactions are mostly positive, with the majority (77 percent) claiming to like that microtransactions allow them to extend their enjoyment of a particular game
  • 68 percent believe the pay-to-win aspect of microtransactions within gaming is unfortunate

The survey also asked people why they buy DLC in the first place. Some of the top reasons included wanting to play with friends who have the same DLC, a desire to have all available content, and the feeling that the price of the content in question was "reasonable."

Although "most" found microtransaction prices to be "reasonable," more than half said they would be more incentivized to buy if prices were lower.

"Spending on microtransactions and DLC is currently healthy, but game publishers and developers must not lose sight of the importance of looking at areas that will stimulate spending growth without compromising real and perceived value of the content they're providing," NPD Group analyst Sam Naji said in a statement.

The NPD report does not mention any specific games that respondents were surveyed about. As gamers are well aware, not every title handles microtransactions and DLC the same.

Microtransactions are commonplace in gaming today across console, PC, and smartphone. In the case of Grand Theft Auto V, the game's microtransactions for GTA Online have reportedly brought in more than $500 million in revenue. One game that apparently won't have them is Resident Evil 7.

This survey included responses from 8,893 people, including 2,470 people who actually spent money on microtransactions and/or DLC. The survey was conducted online from August 19 to September 2.

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